Click here to go directly to the website of Potomac Almanac, where Roger Berliner's letter to the editor, entitled "Lack of Notice," concerning the Brickyard property was printed on March 10, 2011.
A copy of this letter is quoted below:
Lack of Notice
Thursday, March 10, 2011
To the Editor:
The following letter was addressed to Christopher Barclay, president of the Montgomery County Board of Education.
I write today requesting that you postpone action on the proposed lease of the Brickyard school site in Potomac from Montgomery County Public Schools to Montgomery County.
Like many of my constituents, I was surprised to see this item on the Board's agenda for March 8. I am disappointed that the proposal to displace the organic farmer who has leased this plot for the past 31 years in favor of soccer fields has reached this point without broader community input, especially considering that the County Executive's request for the lease agreement came to the Board via letter almost a year and a half ago, in November 2009 — a request that was not shared with my office or the rest of the County Council.
I do understand that ball fields are particularly scarce in the downcounty and acknowledge the challenge that presents to families and athletic organizations. Executive Branch staff, during a meeting on other matters, briefly mentioned this site to me four months ago as a "possibility" to add to the County's field inventory, and I immediately conveyed that this project would be especially controversial. I strongly suggested that they explore a range of uses for this site, and was not advised that the decision to proceed with soccer fields had in fact been made more than a year earlier.
Our county rightfully prides itself on both process and transparency. In this matter, our county has not adequately met either of those expectations. This proposition should have been fully vetted up front; it most certainly has not been.
Accordingly, I respectfully request that you postpone consideration of this agenda item until greater community input — or at the very least, notification — can be solicited and the affected members of the community have had time to reflect on the implications of the lease agreement. I do not believe that the two business days that will have elapsed between the posting of the agenda item and the Board's consideration of the agreement suffice to allow for appropriate community involvement in this decision. I particularly believe that an opportunity for meaningful public comment is appropriate before the Board takes action on the lease agreement.
Councilmember, District 1
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